Prof. Hettie Schönfeldt

Name: Prof Hettie Schönfeldt

Department: Animal Science/ NRF SARCHi Chair Nutrition and Food Security/ ARUA CoE Food Security

Faculty: Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Research entity: Nutrition and Food Security

Position: NRF SARCHi Chair Nutrition and Food Security

Tel: +27 (0)12 361 3331

E-mail: [email protected]


Professor Schönfeldt’s research focuses on linking nutrient quantity and quality of foods to sustainable food systems for attaining nutrition and food security for all. She is an advocate for nutrition research, promoting excellence through the creation, translation and dissemination of science-based information into policies, programmes and training programmes both nationally, and internationally. She publishes evidence on why country-specific food composition data is essential to make it possible to interpret the dietary outcomes of countries. She serves as scientific advisor to AFROFOODS, a network on the African continent, forming part of IUNS/UNU/FAO INFOODS Task Force. She a co-director of the  African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence in Food Security and holds a Department of Science and Technology /National Research Foundation Research Chairs Initiative in Nutrition and Food Security.


Nutrition, Food Security, Food Composition

Research description

Current food systems are not sustainable, and fail to provide nutritious and safe food (as well as water) to support good health for all. Food systems have never been explicitly designed to promote human health and, instead, mostly focus on increased profitability. This has consequently led to the simplification of the diets of large numbers of people focusing primarily on three staple crops and highly processed foods. Globally, this has resulted in a rapid rise in overweight on the one hand and micronutrient malnutrition on the other hand. The research puts a nutrition lens on the food system, health and education. Nutrition (and food) is crucially important to the economy via the role it plays in enhancing the learning capacity of learners, increasing their potential to play an important role in the work force later in their lives. Education on important dietary choices and better nutrition through diverse diets will decrease ill health and improve the ability to work and earn a sustainable livelihood. The focus will be on the availability, accessibility and acceptability of each food group, the costs of diverse food groups and recommended diets with adequate alternative choices, nutrient adequacy and nutrient quality, as well as, delivering nutrients of concern through effective policies and programmes.

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